“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.” This was uncovered in a study by the McKinsey Institute this past year, and I think most of us already knew this to be true. Word of mouth marketing is the best marketing, and in our digital world social media is fueling the word of mouth fire. That’s why there’s no reason for a company in this day and age to not be active on social media. This is especially true for B2B-focused companies, where so much business is based upon referrals and successful case studies. In this post we will discuss why social media is the modern-day word of mouth and what you should be doing to harness this power.
Social Media Scales Word of Mouth Conversations
Conversations are how we connect and share ideas with those around us. Much of this exchanging of thoughts still takes place on the street or around the dinner table. That said, the scale of conversations we can have on social networks and through short form digital communications is ever expanding. As of this year, over 72% of all Internet users are active on social media. 71% of these users access social media from a mobile device. With these devices almost permanently attached to us throughout the day, it’s no wonder that this has become the new way we communicate.
Each social media platform provides us a convenient pool of peers to talk with and exchange insights, opinions, and interesting news. And these interactions are so often reflective of the real world conversations we will have on a daily basis. What we gather from this “digital” word of mouth translates to “old school” word of mouth (the kind with actual mouths involved), so easily that the two are becoming undistinguishable.
Posting to Social Brings Your Brand into the Word of Mouth Conversation
With all this online communication, the amount of content out there can be overwhelming. It’s easy for brands to get lost in the shuffle; out of sight, out of mind. But social media also gives you the power to remind people that you exist and that there is a reason they should be talking about your business. You may have a product that your customers love, but it’s not something they think about on a regular basis. Through social media posts, you can remind them of why they love your brand, and get them talking about it with their peers. And there you’ll have it: word-of-mouth marketing. This can be triggered by simply posting about an interesting article on LinkedIn, or Retweeting something a customer has posted on Twitter. It doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be engaging. The good publicity that comes from it can be invaluable to your business. And the best part is it doesn’t even require much on your end. Just being present and engaged can be enough. As a business, you really can’t afford to miss out on such easy exposure.
Your Employees Should Be Joining the Conversation
So we know your brand should definitely be on social media, but it’s important that your employees are on there too. Word of mouth is inherently a human-to-human interaction, and in many ways social media is optimized around people. Take Facebook for example: They specifically optimize users’ newsfeeds so that posts from individuals are shown more than branded accounts. So while having an online account for your business certainly important, having as many human faces as possible tied to your brand is equally vital.
To take it a step further, you should be feeding content to your employees to post and spread. Make it easy for the people that represent your brand to participate in the conversations happening on social media. Whether you’re giving them example posts or posting directly to their personal accounts, make it simple and effective. This will continue to remind people that your company and employees exist, and give your audience an opportunity to talk about you and fire up that word of mouth superpower.
The overall point we want to make is that word of mouth marketing is still the most powerful kind of marketing, it has just made a shift onto social media. There’s no reason your company should not have a social media presence to bring yourself to the forefront of your customer’s minds. If you can plant your brand in the middle of the millions of online conversations happening each day, the business will come rolling in.